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ST. LOUIS - One woman was killed in a collision Monday evening after being struck by a stolen vehicle.

The accident took place around 7:15 p.m. in the 4100 block of Finney Avenue, located in the Vandeventer neighborhood.

Police said the victim was crossing an intersection in her car when a stolen Chevy Tahoe sped through a stop sign and smashed into her.

According to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a boy was in the vehicle that was struck. He was rushed to a local hospital.

The driver of the stolen Tahoe was taken into custody at the scene and a rifle was found inside the SUV, the Post-Dispatch reported.

A child and another woman were riding in the SUV as well.
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier will now be run by the Abel family. They're the same people that own another St. Louis candy company, Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate. They assumed all operations in July.

The announcement was made Monday but the deal had been in the works for months.

Tim Fogerty, the former CEO of Bissinger's, said he's leaving the business to focus on the 23 City Blocks hospitality business. They run local venues like The Caramel Room, Lumen Private Event Space, and The Chocolate Pig.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the Abel family says they will maintain the Bissinger’s brand and will continue to sell it separately from their own.

“It’s really important for us to tell everybody there will be a Bissinger’s and it’s going to be the Bissinger’s name and Bissinger’s boxes using the exact Bissinger’s recipes,” said Dan Abel Jr., second-generation chocolatier.

Abel Jr. said the Bissinger’s name is as iconic as Ted Drewes in St. Louis.

His sister, company vice president Christina Abel, said having two brands will allow for even more opportunities.

“We have so much fun coming up with new flavors,” she said.  “Now we have a different platform to be creative in a different way.”

The deal will have no impact on the event space known as the Carmel Room, which is located on N. Broadway and can be spotted by the giant Bissinger’s sign on top of the building. The space is owned by a separate company. The owner plans on sending letters to anyone who has booked an event to let them know nothing will change.

The Bissinger’s kitchen, staff, and some equipment have been moved into the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company's plant on The Hill.

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DE SOTO, Mo. – A Missouri man who became part of an international story is being remembered for his selflessness. When Craig Akers’ son, Shawn Hornbeck, went missing, Akers also helped other parents find children who had disappeared.

On Monday night, friends and family arrive at the Mahn Funeral Home in DeSoto for the visitation of Craig Akers. He was 57.

“Craig was a dedicated family man. He will be missed,” said Dawn Robertson, a family friend.

When his 11-year-old son was kidnapped in October 2002, Craig became very dedicated in finding his boy. Shawn was found alive and his kidnapper arrested in January 2007. During those years of not knowing where Shawn was, Craig reached out to other families.

“Anytime a child was missing he was the first one—sick as a dog—get up and try to help,” said friend Angela Forshee.

That’s what many folks remember about Craig – his selflessness.

“It’s a good feeling knowing somebody that would do good for anybody,” said Hattie Wall.

“It has touched everyone, what this family’s been through, and what Craig did for other families also,” said Todd Mahn, the owner of the funeral home.

The disappearance and reunion with Shawn made international headlines. His widow, Pam, and son Shawn apparently share a special bond that is helping them during this time of loss.

“They’re doing good. Shawn is grown up. Even now they’re strong together,” said Jason Huncovsky, Akers’ son-in-law.

Akers served in the United States Air Force and was a member of Patriot Guard. Patriot Guard members will escort Akers to his final resting place Tuesday in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest with full military honors.

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ST. LOUIS - Friday, July 19 marked the one-year anniversary of the duckboat tragedy at Table Rock Lake. The duckboat capsized during turbulent weather on the lake. Seventeen people drowned after being unable to escape the boat.

One of the victims, 69-year-old Bill Asher, was from St. Louis. He was with girlfriend Rose Heupel Hamann, who also died. Asher’s daughter and her attorney spoke with Fox 2 after finishing their settlement.

“To this day, it feels numb still; but you just have to keep going,” said Jennifer Asher, Bill’s daughter.

Jennifer and her two siblings recently won a massive settlement. Their lawyer, John Wilbers, said a confidentiality agreement prevents them from discussing the amount publicly. However, Wilbers said the settlement provides some closure to a horrific incident.

“There’s no way to quantify a loss of life, relationship. That’s priceless. But money does provide a way for closure,” Wilbers said. “They wanted the industry, as far as duckboats, to change.”

No duckboats are allowed to operate in Missouri at the moment and probably never will again. Three employees of the duckboat company, including the boat captain, have been charged in federal court.

Wilbers said the 17 lives lost on the lake were preventable. The National Transportation Safety Board had made recommendations following a 1999 duckboat incident where 13 people died, that duckboats get $12,000 worth of safety precautions added to stop such an incident from happening. However, the boats were never modified.

“This is a company that advertises safe, family fun,” Wilbers said. “We rely on that as consumers. You could have been with your children, I could have been with my children; that’s scary!”

Most of the lawsuits have either been settled or are being settled. Jennifer Asher said without the guidance of her attorneys, her family wouldn’t be where they are.

She said the family is happy with the settlement and getting duckboats off Missouri waters but it can’t bring her dad back.

“Everyone he met, there was never a stranger. He befriended everyone them and they walked away knowing who Bill Asher was,” she said. “He was a legend here in St. Louis and he’s my hometown hero.”

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ST. LOUIS - Attorney General Eric Schmitt tells our You Paid For It investigators that criminals have become emboldened. We spoke with the attorney general about the rising homicides in the city of St Louis and what can be done to turn the bad situation around.

The attorney general has started A Safer Streets Initiative, deputizing five state prosecutors as assistant US attorneys. In the past month, they're gotten four indictments against wrongdoers. Schmitt expects those state prosecutors to handle up to 300 cases against violent criminals

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KIRKWOOD, Mo. - Kirkwood police are looking for the thieves who stole a woman's wallet out of her purse at a retail shop near the intersection of Lindbergh and Manchester.

Police said the suspects immediately went to West County Mall and spent thousands of dollars using the woman's credit cards.

Police said while one suspect started to chat with the woman and distract her, the other suspect reached into her purse that was sitting in her cart and took her wallet.

If you recognize the suspects in the photos released by police, you’re asked to contact the Kirkwood Police Department at 314-822-5858.

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BONNE TERRE, Mo. – A photo of a 2-year-old has gone viral after a mix-up at a Missouri Walmart left the little girl with a cake that read, “Happy Birthday, Loser.”

Melin Jones, 2-year-old Elizabeth’s mother, said she asked for the cake to read, “Happy Birthday, Lizard.”

“Lizard” is the toddler’s nickname.

Unfortunately, as Melin Jones was leaving the store, she realized the cake makers got the birthday wrong.

While the little girl looks glum in that photo, her mother went on Facebook to say the child cannot read just yet and they didn’t tell her what is said.

The mom ultimately went and got her daughter a brand new cake. This time, she opted to use Elizabeth’s name instead.

The cake mistake actually occurred last September but Melin Jones reposted the photos and that’s when they went viral.

 

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man who was recorded unsuccessfully trying to back his wheelchair away from exploding fireworks has been given a new motorized chair since the video went viral.

Thankfully Terry Davis wasn't hurt when his wheelchair malfunctioned, but there's much more to his story.

Back Up Terry! - YouTube

"Oh, people don't know what I have to deal with on a daily basis," he told WREG.

Davis suffered a serious spinal injury 10 years ago, and he's struggled with many setbacks in trying to get a new chair. But on Monday, he turned the page to a new chapter in his story with the donation of a new wheelchair.

"I'm so happy that everybody helped make this come true for me," Davis said.

After learning he needed a new wheelchair, Quantum Rehab and Team Adaptive reached out to make it happen.

"Oh my goodness. It meant the world. It made my heart smile. It's nice to work for a company that's willing to give back and do something for folks who need it and deserve it," April Allen, with Quantum Rehab, said.

Davis now has a customized state-of-the-art chair designed specifically to meet the needs of his injuries. This will improve his daily life, give him more mobility and ease the burden of his caretakers.

"That's going to help my mother to get back and forth. Now she won't have to go back and forth to get his things from Walmart. It's going to improve his life so much more," Davis' mother Annette Carter said.

The family originally set up a GoFundMe account for a new wheelchair. They're using the money to purchase a wheelchair accessible van for Davis and modifications to his home.

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UPDATE: Mr. Smith has been found safe.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ill. – Authorities in central Illinois are asking for the public’s help in locating a 76-year-old man who went missing Monday afternoon.

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Marshall Smith was reported missing from the 8800 block of N. Triton Lane at 4:30 p.m.

Police described Smith as a Caucasian man, 5’11” tall and weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair.

Smith was last seen wearing baggy sweatpants and an old t-shirt. He was driving a red 2014 Ford Explorer with Illinois license plates MOSUE63.

Authorities said Smith has a medical condition that places him in danger.

Anyone with information on Smith’s whereabouts should contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 618-244-8004 or their nearest law enforcement agency by dialing 911.

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A Colorado mother is desperately trying to raise enough money to pay for a drug that would save her toddler’s life.

Ciji Green's 19-month-old daughter Maisie Forrest was born with a rare disease that's treatable with a drug that costs over $2 million, so they're asking the community for help.

“She can’t be left alone ever, because in a second she can choke on her own secretion,” Green said.

She held Maisie in her arms for most of the interview. Maisie was diagnosed with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy in June of 2018.

It’s a genetic disorder that steals the body’s abilities to use muscles, swallow, roll, sit up—and eventually, breathe.

“It just takes one cold to kill them.  We lost Maisie twice.  We’ve had to resuscitate her two times so far in her life,” said Green.

Green regularly has to perform what’s called a cough assist—as well as a “suction,” that removes excess secretion from Maisie’s mouth.

“It’s pretty horrible, gruesome stuff," Green said. "As a parent, it’s nothing that a parent should have to ever do to their kids.”

There’s an FDA-approved treatment for kids under 2 years old—called Zolgensma—that not only stops the disease from progressing, but can also reverse the symptoms over time.

“This is my baby and I want to give her the best chance at life, and I can’t do that," Green said. "I can’t do that because I don’t have 2.2 million dollars.”

That’s about how much it would cost, out of pocket, for the one-time, life-saving dose.

“There’s not a million kids that have this disease.  There’s like 250.  And so, in order to continue to fund their research—they need to charge a high amount,” Green said.

Green said part of her thinks it's expensive due to greed.

“It becomes greed when they’re willing to let children go without, which is what’s happened with Maisie," she said. "State medicaid won’t cover any of the cost.”

Green said medicaid denied Maisie because she's responded to the other drug she takes, and they don't have clinical data to support the switch at her age.

Spinraza, the drug Maisie is currently on, is another FDA treatment that Green says only slows the progression of the disease.

“She used to not be able to move her arms as well," Green said. "But her breathing continues to decline and that’s why we want to the gene therapy, because it halts the progression [of the disease].”

Currently, she said medicaid covers the cost of a Spinraza injection, given every four months at a cost of $125,000.

“I almost feel the insurance company is banking on us losing Maisie before they have to spend that kind of money on her,” said Green, referring to the alternative cost of just under $2.2 million.

She said, at this point, Maisie is on borrowed time.

“In May, I watched five of my friends bury their babies—all on Spinraza, all around Maisie’s age," Green said.

Green is making a desperate plea to the community, to help her raise the money before it’s too late.

“Please,” she said with tears in her eyes.  “This is my baby, and I would do anything for your baby.  What would you do if it was yours?”

The Grand Junction mother is still holding out hope her baby will live to see her 2nd birthday.

“I could find $2 in the bottom of my purse or in my car," Green said. "If we could get a million people to find those two dollars, we could do this.”

You can donate here. 

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